We’re in the process of updating our recommendations on bail out bags and active shooter kits. This process requires us to survey all of the companies and try to find the best gear for you guys.
One of the companies that stood out to us during this process is Spartan Armor Systems.
Spartan Armor Systems (SAS) offers hard armor plates and kits for police officers at very reasonable prices. To make things even better, the company offers a 10% discount for police officers, first responders and active-duty military. (More on this later.)
Let’s take a look at what they offer:
- hard plate options
- soft body armor & more
- made in the USA
- NIJ compliance
- consumer friendly policies
- bulk department purchasing
Hard Plate Options
Plate carriers for law enforcement have become an important bit of gear for patrol officers that may respond to active shooters, barricaded subjects and other incidents in which firearms may be involved.
Spartan Armor offers a number of hard plate designs to meet a variety of needs.
For many cops, every penny in the home budget counts. If that’s you, the Omega AR500 plates might meet your needs best. A pair of these NIJ-certified Level III plates is about $151 before your LE discount.
These are offered in two styles: shooter’s cut and swimmer’s cut. The swimmer’s cut narrows the top of the plate for vastly improved arm movement. The downside is less coverage.
For less than $200 (before your discount) you can get two shooter’s cut plates and a MOLLE carrier. That’s a heck of a deal.
SAS also offers a variety of ceramic and composite plates including Level IV Multi-Hit plates. These plates have been tested to stop up to 7 rounds of armor-piercing .30-06 rounds. That’s serious stopping power.
Our top recommendation is the Level III+ Quad Curve Plates. These plates are significantly lighter and thinner than the Level IV plates but offer protection against M855 A1 (5.56 NATO) rounds and the notoriously tough BZ API (an armor-piercing incendiary 7.62×39 round.) This is the plate set I would buy if I didn’t already have a complete set from another manufacturer.
Soft Armor & More
In addition to rifle plates, the company offers soft body armor including designs for both internal and external carriers.
One of the company’s recent introductions is the Level IIIA Wraparound Vest.
Although many departments offer concealable body armor, some agencies only allow an externally worn vest if you purchase it yourself. If that’s you, this might be a good choice.
The Wraparound offers full adjustments at the shoulders and the side wings. It is festooned with MOLLE webbing for the addition of pouches, a Taser holster and more.
Additionally, the carrier can accept one of the company’s rifle plates to offer even more protection.
SAS offers armor panels for backpacks.
While many people think of backpack panels for children’s backpacks, you can insert one of these in your off-duty bag for use as an impromptu shield. As a guy who’s encountered violent felons off duty, I can’t stress how useful this could be.
Made in USA
Body armor can be manufactured around the world. In fact, there are many US companies that have their panels and plates made in places like China and Vietnam. While these systems can be every bit as effective as those made in the United States, I know many police officers prefer to purchase products made with American labor.
Spartan Armor Systems manufactures its body armor in Tucson, Arizona.
Be very careful about what body armor you purchase. Some of it may not stop what it claims.
Independent testing of body armor shows that some companies sell plates and panels that fail to stop rounds they should. Universally, these problems are with products that have not been listed on the National Institute of Justice’s website as having complied with the 0106.01 (or the newer 0107.01) body armor standard.
Spartan Armor Systems adheres to the NIJ 0106.01 standard and you can find their products listed on the JustNet site here. [JustNet is the Justice Technology Information Center, a program of NIJ.]
Free Shipping, Warranty and Returns
SAS offers an excellent level of customer service including three buyer-friendly policies.
First, the company offers free shipping.
Shipping heavy plates is expensive. Rather than teasing you with a “cheap” price and then adding $60 or more at check out, they simply list the price of the product and that’s what you pay.
Secondly, the company offers a warranty of 5 – 10 years on all of its NIJ compliant products. The exact warranty period varies depending on the model.
Lastly, the company accepts returns on products for the first 10 business days. This may come as a shock, but many – if not most – companies do not accept any returns. Ten days is plenty of time for you to ensure the plates fit and meet your needs.
Law Enforcement & Military Discounts
Spartan Armor Systems offers a 10% discount to all law enforcement officers, members of the military and other first responders. Follow this link to the company’s instructions on how to receive this discount.
If you represent an agency, SAS offers bulk agency discounts as well. The information is offered by the company at this link.
If you work in law enforcement, you need a plate carrier with rifle rated plates.
Spartan Armor Systems offers NIJ-certified armor at very reasonable prices. At less than $200, you have no excuse not to buy armor that can save your life.
Once you get it, make sure you check out our Active Shooter Equipment Checklist to properly outfit it.
Special thanks to Spartan Armor Systems for the use of their photos.